Many studies have shown that working out to music can have a number of positive effects and help us to push ourselves further. Music is also strongly linked to personal memories and hearing certain tracks can transport us to a particular moment in time. In this occasional series of posts, I’d like to introduce some of my favourite tracks from my workout playlist and share some of the memories they have given me.
The Trap – Ron Goodwin and his Orchestra
You might not recognise the name of this one, but UK readers should definitely recognise the track as it’s the iconic London Marathon theme (which probably gives you a clue as to why I chose it!).
My London Marathon experience came in 2011 when I gained one of those coveted places through the running club I was in at the time. I had run my first marathon the year before in Paris and despite my training for that race being less than ideal, I finished knowing that I wanted to have another go at the marathon, and that I wanted that to be in London. Here in the UK, the London Marathon is THE marathon. When you first meet someone and they find out that you run, they usually ask two follow-up questions: 1. Have you ever run a marathon? and 2. Have you run the London Marathon? And these days Steve and I like to play a fun game in the week before London to see how many people ask us if we’re going to be running it (usually non-runners who have no real concept of how difficult it is to get a place in the race or how much training it would entail!). It’s the most visible marathon in the UK, and for that reason the one that captures the public imagination the most.
Like many big city marathons, runners have to attend an expo to collect their race number. I had actually visited the London expo a couple of years previously when I went to support Steve (it was that experience of spectating at a time when I was really just beginning my running journey that first made me believe I too could run a marathon one day). I knew how big the expo would be, I knew how many samples and goodies I would be handed and I knew the theme music would be playing in the exhibition hall. What I didn’t know was how emotional that music would make me feel!
The race expo is the moment when your race experience suddenly gets real. You have your race number in your hand and are surrounded by others with the same aim as you – to run 26.2 miles. The excitement, nerves and anticipation are palpable. It can be an emotional time and, as a relatively new marathoner, I still remembered the wave of emotions that hit me when I crossed that first finish line, as well as my determination to complete a full training cycle and take part in this iconic race. Every time that music played, those emotions washed over me again.
Everyone told me that the London Marathon would be one of the greatest experiences of my life, and they were right. It may not have been my first marathon, but it was still amazing, no doubt because I was running on a course I had watched on television every year for as long as I could remember. After all, the London Marathon is just one of those TV events that everybody watches. It’s a shared viewing experience, and here I was being part of it. I couldn’t believe it.
I put the London Marathon theme into my playlist as I knew it would be a reminder of that amazing day. When I listen to music during a run or race I have my playlist on shuffle so I never know what’s coming next, and hearing this one always brings back the memories of that day. I must confess, it still tends to make me feel emotional, especially on London Marathon day when it’s played on TV several times. I returned as a spectator in 2012 and as soon as I stepped into the expo and heard those opening bars, I was transported back to my own experience of running the year before.
For me, this track will forever be bound up with the emotions of that one race experience. So if you ever see me running and I look like I’m crying, my iPod has probably just picked that moment to play me it!
Please note that under UK Athletics rules, racing with headphones whilst on open roads is banned. If you choose to train with headphones, please be careful and make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times.
Feel free to share your favourite workout tracks in the comments below…